If there is one thing that has become an unfortunate, almost universal fact it’s that most of us are highly stressed. We have ridiculously busy schedules, don’t get enough rest, and struggle to give our bodies the type of nutrition it needs to function optimally. Staying in a constant state of stress causes a number of health concerns, but one that we tend to notice most often is pain.
Heat, Stretching and Oils
Here are a few easy-to-implement natural ways to relieve pain:
- Use a source of heat. Heat is quite soothing and can be effective both on headaches and on muscle aches. You can use a warm water bottle, heating pad, or take a warm bath or shower. Heat relaxes the blood vessels and promotes better blood flow, and moist heat tends to be more effective than dry heat. Caution should be taken if you have an injury in the area, however.
- Try gentle stretching. Stretching has obvious benefits for tense muscles, but it could help other types of stress pain in a somewhat indirect way. In order to stretch effectively, you must slow down and focus on the activity. This can promote some level of stress relief, which targets the cause rather than just the symptoms.
- Apply or smell peppermint oil. Just placing a drop or two of peppermint oil on a cloth and periodically inhaling the scent can do wonders to relieve a headache. The menthol in the oil also works well as a topical pain reliever, both for headaches and muscle pain. Pure essential oils can be irritating to the skin, though, so do mix it with a drop or two of a good carrier oil such as almond or grapeseed.
- Try some meditation. Meditation will not relieve pain directly, but, as with stretching, can tackle the source of the pain in the first place. Meditation is incredibly beneficial and is used in everything from holistic alcohol detox programs to self-help programs. When combined with strategic deep breathing, meditation can help us focus on simply existing and letting go of the things that cause us to become tense.
- Get a massage. In addition to working out the tension in the muscles that cause pain, massages are incredibly relaxing. Relaxation is stress’s number one enemy, so the more you can experience it, the greater stress relief, and pain relief, you’ll have. A professional massage, of course, is best because it can allow for deeper muscle penetration safely. If you can’t afford to see a professional, though, just having someone else give you a mild massage can be quite helpful.
Of course, getting control of your stress levels is the single most effective thing you can do to reduce stress pain. Take some time to make an honest analysis of your schedule, commitments, and the realistic amount of time you have available to do it all.
It may be time to cut out a few activities or simply learn how to say no sometimes. Try to adjust your schedule so that you always have some time for yourself and the things you enjoy. Until then, use the tips above to minimize the discomfort.
Photo Credit: Tara Angkor Hotel